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How to avoid bad tenants

By Kevin Kelly

Introduction

Bad Tenants can severely damage a property and leave with substantial amounts of rent owing. With current legislation it does take time to remove a tenant from a property so therefore it makes good sense to ensure you screen all tenants thoroughly before choosing to allow them to rent your property. Even the most stringent of checks cannot identify a bad tenant every time; however these tips will reduce your chance of renting to a bad tenant

1. Always use an Application Form

Although not a fireproof way to avoid bad tenants, just accepting them on face value without anything in writing is a sure way to get into trouble! A well constructed application form asking for permission to check previous and current landlord references, employment and personal details is an essential tool for any serious landlord.

2. Always ask for Identification

Get a copy of the tenants drivers licence and check on other important identification like a debit/credit card and car registration papers, to ensure that you are dealing with who they say they are! Usually a bad tenant with a malicious motive will try and falsify identification, or simply seek out private landlords that do not ask for identification.

3. Collecting Address Information

If a tenant has been evicted recently from a property, they will not be upfront with you about it. Asking for current/recent utility accounts like electricity and gas together with a drivers licence allows you to cross check their current and possibly previous addresses against your application form. Are there any addresses identified where you cannot speak with the landlord for a reference? Always check their history in every address disclosed.

4. Trust your Gut Feeling 

Though not a 100% foolproof method for tenant selection. Does the application information make sense? If you are left puzzled and have a big question mark about their application information, if things just do not add up then sometimes it is best not to take a chance and reject the application. Be satisfied that all information makes sense; all address history is accounted for before moving to grant them possession. It is easier to say no, than to take a risk and allow a bad tenant to dwell in your property!

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